The Los Angeles Lakers allowed 115.1 points per game in 2021-22, 28th of 30, so they need all the help they can get on the defensive end, which is why LeBron James’ friend is urging the franchise to sign a former sixth overall draft pick who averages 1.4 blocks.
Social media sensation Cuffs The Legend, who is James’ friend and an NBA analyst, believes the Lakers should acquire Mo Bamba this summer. The Orlando Magic center becomes a restricted free agent in the offseason.
The Magic drafted Bamba with the sixth overall pick in the 2018 draft out of Texas. The New York native has career averages of 7.7 points, 6.1 rebounds and 1.4 blocks while shooting 47.5% from the field, 35.2% from beyond the arc and 68.5% from the free-throw line.
Bamba Would Fit Well with James & Anthony Davis
The Lakers need a shot-blocking center who can also do some damage on offense around James and Anthony Davis and Bamba fits that bill. The 24-year-old had his best season in 2021-22, finishing with averages of 10.6 points, 8.1 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 1.7 blocks.
Bamba can start alongside James and Davis and protect the rim and space the floor. He blocked 118 shots and made 107 3-pointers in 2021-22. As a restricted free agent, Bamba can sign an offer sheet with any team during the summer and then the Magic would have 48 hours to match the deal or let the talented big man walk.
Bamba averaged 6.5 points and 6.0 rebounds in two games against the Lakers in 2021-22. The Texas product has improved his statistics every year and the Lakers could become stouter on defense and more explosive on offense if they added Bamba.
According to Keith Smith of Spotrac, the Lakers have a taxpayer MLE worth $6,392,000 they can use this summer. Los Angeles has to clear major cap space to sign Bamba, who made $7,568,743 in 2021-22 and has a qualifying offer worth $10,096,703 with the Magic for next season.
The easiest way for the Lakers to create cap space is by trading Russell Westbrook, who will make $47,063,478 next season if he picks up his player option.
What Type of Contract Will Bamba Sign as an RFA?
The Magic have three talented big men in Bamba, Wendell Carter Jr. and Jonathan Isaac. Carter Jr. signed a four-year, $50 million extension with Orlando in October 2021 and Smith believes Bamba could get a similar deal.
“The Magic could sign him to a contract similar to that of Carter (four years, $50 million) and have their center position covered for the immediate future,” Smith wrote. “Both players would still remain tradable on a deal like that, should the team need to shore up a spot elsewhere.”
The Magic have the No. 1 overall pick in the 2022 draft. That could make Bamba or Isaac expendable, so the Lakers would be wise to monitor the Bamba situation since he projects to fit well next to James and Davis.
Having a big man who can protect the paint and space the floor is immensely helpful in the modern game and Bamba has proved with the Magic that he can block shots at a high rate and hit open 3-pointers.